Goal 10: Foreign Language Competency

At Longwood, the level of foreign language that you must complete depends on your major. Being a chemistry major, I was required to complete a language to the 201 level. I chose to complete this requirement in Spanish, and this past year I have completed Spanish 102 and 201. Spanish is a topic that I have always struggled with, and Spanish 201 was particulary frustrating. These two classes were largely focused on grammatical concepts such as the future, preterite, subjunctive, and imperfect tense. Grammar has never been one of my strongest aspects in English, so attempting to learn these topics in a different language was challenging. Because taking Spanish classes has always been difficult for me, I have always viewed language classes negatively and attempt to complete them for the grade, not to actually learn the material. This mindset changed for me this year, when I had the opportunity to complete my first practicum placement at Falling Creek Middle School. Falling Creek Middle School is in Chesterfield County, and is the most diverse middle school in the county. Over half of the population at FCMS speaks Spanish, and the population of English Language Learners has significantly increased over the past few years. While teaching, many of my students spoke Spanish as their first language, and although they understood English, I believe that they would have better comprehended the material that they were learning if it was in Spanish. Coincidentally, the environment and nature chapter we learned in 201 this semester coincided with the ecosystem chapter that the students were learning in their Life Science class. While in the classroom, the students helped me with my Spanish, while I helped them with their ecosystem concepts. Having this experience further reinforced that Spanish is not just a class to take for a grade, but is a life skill that will be extremely beneficial in my future as an educator. Even though I am now finished my required language for Longwood, I hope to continue studying Spanish to eventually be able to fully communicate with students who speak English as a second language.